A limited amount of scientific research on ginger’s anti-cancer properties has been done. Experiments on animals have shown that ginger extract helped inhibit gastric ulcers (Shetty et al., 2008). Certain flavonoids (bi-flavones) isolated from the stem and branches exhibited cytotoxic properties in the colon, non–small cell lung, breast, ovarian, and renal cell cancers (Pradhan et al., 2009).
The effect of gingerols on Helicobacter pylori bacteria that cause gastritis and cancer in the stomach was studied, and results indicate that the herb has chemopreventive effects (Mahady et al., 2003).
Beyond these few experiments, scientific evidence to support ginger’s anti-cancer properties appears to be tenuous.
Ginger and its oil may increase the risk in people susceptible to bleeding disorders. It could be due to the anti-coagulant property of the spice (Srivastava et al., 1984).
The failure of modern medicine to find a satisfactory and cost-effective solution to cancer has led many patients to turn to complementary alternative medicine for relief. A 2018 survey of Chinese-speaking cancer patients found that 65% used alternative or complementary medicine. (Balneaves et al., 2018).
There is a sense of desperation in cancer sufferers and caregivers. The trauma associated with this disease is considerable, in addition to fear and its toll on health. Treatment often contributes to this trauma. Desperate patients often look to alternatives to alleviate suffering.
It is therefore important to review and present the scientific evidence behind the effectiveness or otherwise of complementary medicine in the treatment of cancer. Patients and caregivers need to get a balanced, scientific evidence-based view of the various nature-based solutions.
There is so much anecdotal evidence that describes a herb’s miraculous properties that desperate patients fall victim to these miracle cure makers. I have studied the medicinal properties of herbs for several years now, and I have learned to exercise caution when using herbs to treat cancer and other diseases. Herbs are known to have side effects that can be harmful to health.